Have you ever used fresh cranberries for cooking? Until we found them for 10 cents a bag a couple years ago, I had never bought fresh cranberries before, let alone cook with them! In fact, I wasn’t even sure I liked canned cranberry sauce. When I had ten bags of fresh cranberries, I decided I’d better figure out what to do with them!
First, you can freeze a bag of fresh cranberries by simply popping it in the freezer. When they thaw, they retain their texture and don’t go to mush like you might expect. They will be fine for up to a year in your freezer. http://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16996
One of the first things I did with my fresh (or frozen) cranberries was to make this salad/relish. It involves no cooking whatsoever--just a food processor, or something else you can use to finely chop. You don’t need to thaw the cranberries if they are frozen. It is a tangy, wonderful holiday side. You just finely chop a bag of cranberries, one orange—rind and all—and a small apple, seeded. Add up to a cup of sugar. Mm, Mm, makes my mouth water! This is a great, simple recipe you can make with the kids. They might be surprised how much they like it.
Now, what about getting some education involved in your cranberries? The first real “cooking” of cranberries I did followed reading Cranberry Thanksgiving, by Wende and Harry Devlin, with my children. (There is also a follow-up story Cranberry Christmas, but we haven’t read that yet.) Cranberry Thanksgiving is one of the books featured in Five in a Row. Here is a great lapbook using this book to do with your children to learn more about cranberries: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/resources_cranberry.php
At the end of Cranberry Thanksgiving is a recipe for Grandma’s Cranberry Bread. It is a wonderful recipe! We love it! It is sweet and moist. For our family of 8, it is best if I double the recipe, but I used just one bag of cranberries for both loaves. It really should be closer to a bag and a half, but we find there are still plenty of cranberries.
If you’ve never bought or used cranberries before, I suggest you give this tart, beautiful fruit a try. Around Thanksgiving the price is very good and you can find great deals on fresh cranberries--I've seen them for as much as $1.99 a pound and as little as a dime a pound. Try something new; get your children involved. You might discover a new holiday favorite!